Playhouse to offer Los Angeles County Arts Commission internships

The Mission Playhouse is thrilled to announce that, for the third year in a row, we are participating in the Los Angeles County Arts Commission (LACAC) Internship Program! LACAC is providing funding for two full-time paid summer interns at the playhouse: a “Historical Costume Intern” and a “Programming/Marketing Intern.”

The “Historical Costume Intern” will work with the Mission Play costume collection that was unearthed in the Playhouse attic in 2015. The historical background for this project began in 1912, when LA Times journalist, John Steven McGroarty, wrote the epic Mission Play. First performed in 1913, on an outdoor stage near the San Gabriel Mission, the performances moved to the newly constructed San Gabriel Mission Playhouse in 1927. By the end of the play’s run in 1945, there had been over 3000 performances, to at least 2.5 million people!

During this span of 33 years, McGroarty’s wife Ida designed most of the beautiful costumes for the cast of 150 actors, dancers, and musicians. From rough-cloth robes for Franciscan Monks, delicately beaded and fringed suede garments for Native American children, to sequin-adorned skirts and brass buttoned trousers for the Spanish Dancers, the costumes were an integral and celebrated part of the lavish productions.

For several decades, the costumes sat dormant in large 1920s wicker chests, until 2013 when some of the baskets were unpacked. In 2013, two garments were displayed at the Huntington Library’s Junipero Serra exhibit, and over the past two summers just over 100 garments (out of approximately 275) have been cleaned, conserved and catalogued. During the past internships, three of the garments were definitively identified with photographs as those used in a 1913 production of the Mission Play.

The 2018 “Historical Costume Intern” will focus on early Mission Play programs, photographs, and other ephemera, to draw correlations between the costumes and the documentation available, implement conservation of the remaining garments, maintain a database of “condition reports” for the garments, create a blog to document the project, as well as curate a selection of costumes for a future exhibit.

An interview with Laila Jaffer, the Playhouse’s 2017 historical costume intern

The “Programming/Marketing Intern” will coordinate our annual Mexican Independence Day event held in September. They will research and book the artists, coordinate contracts, and help with aspects of the publicity and pre-production of the event, as well as other arts events at the historic San Gabriel Mission Playhouse.

Last year over 3000 students applied for the 150 positions available, so needless to say, these internships are highly sought after!

Internships run for 10 consecutive weeks from June to August 2018. Graduating seniors who complete their undergraduate degrees between May 1 and September 1, 2018 are eligible, as well as current undergraduate students. Applicants must have completed at least one semester of college by June 2018 and be currently enrolled in a community college or a four-year university. Applicants must be residents of and/or attending school in Los Angeles County. Students who have previously participated in the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program are not eligible to participate a second time.

Interns also take part in educational and arts networking activities generously funded by The Getty Foundation. Through the program, interns develop business skills that can be put to use in their future careers and gain a deeper understanding of the work involved in nonprofit arts administration and the role of the arts in a community.

Please click here for more information about the program.

This internship is sponsored by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission. 179 undergraduate interns will participate in the program this year at more than 120 performing, presenting, and literary nonprofit arts organizations and municipal arts agencies throughout LA County. In addition to their full-time 10 week paid internship, interns will participate in educational events as part of the program, which is funded by the Getty Foundation. The educational events are designed to provide interns with a broader perspective of the vibrant arts and cultural landscape of the County. For additional information on the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, the Arts Internship Program, and for a complete list of all the internships offered this summer, visit the Arts Commission website at